Naomi Osaka becomes a partner in NWSL’s North Carolina Courage
Tennis star Naomi Osaka is expanding her commitment to women’s sport.
The three-time Grand Slam champion announced in a tweet on Thursday that she had acquired a stake in North Carolina Courage, a team from the National Women’s Soccer League, and is now a partner.
The women who invested in me made me who I am today. I don’t know where I would be without her. Throughout my career, I’ve always received so much love from my fellow athletes, so I’m proud to share that I now own @ TheNCCourage ⚽️❤️ pic.twitter.com/Iz0YcVvOqz
– NaomiOsaka @ 坂 な な @ (@naomiosaka) January 28, 2021
In a statement, Osaka said her desire to invest in women’s sports comes from the women who supported her in her careers when she was younger.
“The women who invested in me made me who I am today and I can’t imagine where my life would be without them. My investment in the North Carolina Courage is way more than just being a team owner. It is an investment in amazing women who are role models and leaders in their fields and who inspire all young women athletes. I also admire everything Courage for Diversity and Equality does in the church, and I look forward to supporting and advancing it. “
Team owner Steve Malik said he looks forward to welcoming Osaka and their unique perspective to the Courage family.
“I am delighted to welcome Naomi as the owner of the North Carolina Courage,” Malik said in a statement. “Naomi embodies the values we wanted to nurture in our club and she brings an invaluable point of view on issues beyond sport. I can’t think of a better one to help us as we continue to make a difference in our community and inspire the next generation of women. “
Osaka says courage is consistent with their values
Osaka, which is currently preparing overseas for the upcoming Australian Open, told People that it has been speaking with NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird about investing in a team for a while.
“I’ve wanted to get involved with the NWSL for some time, to promote women’s sport and also as a business investment because I see it growing fast,” Osaka told People. “The commissioner of the league introduced me to a few teams and after long discussions I decided that the courage suits me best.”
Osaka is the first investor in Courage since Malik, a local entrepreneur, founded the team in 2017. He bought the Western New York Flash after winning the NWSL championship in 2016 and relocating the team to North Carolina. Since then, the Courage has won two NWSL championships.
In her interview with People, Osaka said she chose the courage because of the work they do to support women’s sports.
“First and foremost, I really like the people who run the club from top to bottom. They are so closely aligned with my values and interests – they promote women’s sports through the grassroots and use the team as a platform to do good in the community to do.”
“I think it’s great that young girls can now see professional football as a realistic sports career. When I was young I felt that tennis – and maybe golf – was the only option.”
Osaka doesn’t plan to be involved in the Courage’s day-to-day operations but already has ideas on how she can help the team.
“We have some plans to do some really unique and cool things together. I plan to be more strategic advisor on things like growing the brand, promoting women’s sports, nurturing the next generation, and addressing social issues . “
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